Once upon a time, I just grabbed the handlebars of that banana seat cruiser and took off around the block. I was all about laying down skids on the driveway and practicing winning races.
How about you? Did you love the freedom of your first bike? Those days when we had no thoughts about how the bike felt, how our bodies felt and whether or not we were safe on the road. Welcome to adulthood. It’s time to think about how we can be both safe and comfortable on our bikes.
I’ve been helping people get comfortable on their bikes for over 30 years and coaching families in Mountain Biking skills since 2007. Here’s a shortlist of my best tips.
How to feel safe on your bike:
- Wear a properly fitted helmet.
- 1V2 (1 finger above your eyebrows, V around your ears, 2 fingers of breathing space under your chin
- MIPS - new helmets are reducing concussions through technology
- Use daytime running lights. Lights are not just for the nighttime.
- Wear bright colours - reflective if possible.
- Use a bell (it’s not just an ornament). If necessary, get an airhorn.
- Catch the attention of drivers/get eye contact. If you can't see their eyes, they may not see you.
- Carry a repair kit. If not for you, for other stranded cyclists.
- Wear gloves.
- Use eyewear/glasses. Keep the gravel and bugs out of your eyes.
- Carry a map (not just your phone).
BONUS: Speaking of phones, get those earbuds out of your ears. It’s illegal and dangerous.
How to get more comfortable on your bike:
- Set your seat to the proper height. If your seat is too low, your back and knees will tell you.
- Tire pressure: hard and fast, soft and slow (and flat).
- A clean bike runs better. (But don't use a pressure washer please).
- Lube - use it sparingly and regularly to keep your chain lasting long and staying clean.